13 October 2008
A tale of two Landscapes
Landscape paintings take many different views, thankfully not each depicting the same focus or scenery. To compare paintings comes down to a viewer’s preference of one style versus another. The paintings I selected to compare are landscapes; however the detail Monet exhibited in La Pointe de La Hève at Low Tide over the short choppy style of Cézanne’s Maison Maria with a View of the Château Noir, makes the paintings more different than similar.
The title of the Monet painting, La Point de La Hève at Low Tide gives a viewer an idea of what the painting illustrates. Completed in 1865 using oils, the large canvas is approximately three feet wide, two and a half feet tall. The views one of a shoreline, low white capped waves slowly receding into the ocean at low tide. The beach stretches far into the distance pocked with rocks and vegetation. In the background a rocky slope up towards higher ground, covered in green, erodes into the beach. Inland on the sand, a man astride a large gray horse stands holding a riderless mount. A second man, a walking stick in hand, picks thru treasures the receding tide revealed. Foreground left, a gentleman driving a two wheeled cart, his hand raised in greeting, passes. His horse works hard to pull the cart thru small waves and wet sand. Wheel tracks in the sand evidence of past travelers.. The sky appears overcast, only a small break in the clouds gives a glimpse of blue. Small outcroppings of land, darker green in color reach out into the water. In my head I imagine the sound of the waves, the men raising their voices in greeting. The briny smell of the sea and vegetation are recalled from past visits to the ocean. Monet used colors I associate with cold or cooler weather, grays, browns, darker greens, letting me imagine the biting sting of the cold air. Viewed up close one marvels at the economy of details that materialize when one takes several paces back. A single stroke...